with things like Facebook, its easy to stay "connected" to people, however truly disengaged you are with them.
People who used to be really close to you, are treated and viewed the same way as people you may casually know or barely even know at all. I find this sad.
and the items people often post are just snapshots of a moment of a day - perhaps the only part you truly want people to see - hardly who you are or what happened. Kind of like when company comes over and the whole house is scrubbed clean...do we ever really live like this? why do we want others to think we do? Partially out of a respect for a guest, but what is the other, deeper reason?
When you find out old friends are "in town" but you don't hear from them, it's hard as well. Without Facebook, you wouldn't know things like that. You may not have a relationship anymore due to time, distance, or some other unknown reason, but it just pushes you even further away every time you read something like that. You have to shut down that little part of your heart or space in yourself because otherwise you just open yourself up to hurt every time.
I had to do this a couple years ago or so with a friend I was really close to and loved - she just didn't have the time for me anymore and was very (painfully) honest about it. I am glad she was honest with me even though it hurt bad. After a conversation on IM that I couldn't believe, and a tearful call to my husband to tell him that we were certainly not friends anymore since I didn't deserve to be treated that way by anyone (hmph!), I realized that her life had changed, and there was distance between us, and families to take care of and that it was probably for the best. I often think that she had no idea how badly she hurt me, and at least that was comforting.
What is getting weird now is that I measure things in terms of the ages of my kids, like, for one example, the above mentioned friend has never met Evan. He just turned three. So I know its been three years. A long time.
And another friend/old co-worker that I used to sew with occasionally, who was hilarious, and even threw me a beautiful baby shower, has never met Nathan. Nathan is 5 and turning 6 in the fall. I invited her over three or four times after Nathan was born, but I never got a response back. We are Facebook friends now, that's it. We got together in the fall for drinks and dinner one night and it was obvious we didn't have much in common to talk about anymore. She and her husband decided long ago to never have children. My kids are pretty much all I talk about....
So, I guess Facebook does do this really great service as it can keep you in touch with old friends throughout the year. At the same time, its a really sad tool, that keeps you tethered to people who may simply feel that way out of obligation and can open you up to old feelings you thought long ago you had closed the book on. Its even true with family...
I know I cannot do anything about anyone else, but I can do something about me. I am not perfect, and I make mistakes too, and I know I've probably done the same things to people others have done to me, but not intentionally. So, I like to think the same with others, and I work hard to steer clear from Facebook other than to see cute pictures of friend's kids, see what my dorky relatives are doing, or what is going to happen tonight on Masterchef.